President Barack Obama’s early pledge that our nation would top the world in college graduates by 2020 won’t be met. The country currently stands at 16th in the world.
Indeed, “his own administration’s numbers show he won’t come close,” Politico
reports. The college graduation goal was an important part of Obama’s economic platform, because education is so important for people to attain well-paid jobs.
The failure detracts from the president’s claim on the campaign trail that while the economy remains sluggish, he is laying the foundation for improvement.
Rising costs for students and budget cuts for colleges are making it difficult for more people to attend. And many students aren’t receiving a strong enough education in kindergarten through 12th grade to even prepare them for college.
By Politico’s calculations, Obama’s goal for 60 percent of Americans ages 25-34 to have college degrees won’t be reached until 2036 if gains continue at the same rate they have averaged for the past five years.
The Obama camp isn’t giving up the ghost though. Campaign policy director James Kvaal told Politico the 2020 goal is “an ambitious goal, but I think it’s a possible goal,” citing periods like the years after World War II, “when educational attainment has increased by great amounts in short periods of time.” Similarly, Justin Hamilton, the Education Department’s press secretary, said the goal is “attainable.”
Outsiders are more realistic. “It’s a moon shot,” Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, told Politico.
Former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told the news service, “I’m sure the goal’s not attainable if we don’t have a strategy to reach it. And the Obama administration doesn’t have a strategy.”
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